Innistrad is a fan-favorite plane, and it’s looking to live up to its heritage with this go around. While there’s plenty of praise I could offer the set, I’d also like to offer some practical advice for anyone looking to play Standard in the coming weeks. Today, we’ll be looking at five cards to keep an eye on for Standard.
When Robber of the Rich was previewed nearly two years ago, some people were really low on it. Sure, a two-mana 2/2 with haste was good, but how often would you be casting the cards? The answer was not often, but when you did, it was brutal for the opponent. Bloodthirsty Adversary looks to follow in Robber’s footsteps — but when you draw it in the late game, it will come in even stronger, re-cast a burn spell or a piece of removal to clear the way.
One thing I look for during preview season are cards that reward me for simply playing the game and not having to jump through too many hoops. Bloodthirsty Adversary simply asks that I play with instant or sorceries, an extremely easy task to fulfill. This will probably end up being one of the best cards for Mono-Red in Standard, and it might even be strong enough to break into red midrange decks. It can pull double duty as a way to put opponents on the back foot early or serve as a powerful swing draw in the late game. Cards that mitigate flooding are strong additions to any deck, especially when their base rate is so serviceable like this one’s.
Mono-White has received some powerful tools over the last year, and it’s had its time in the sun in Standard. Currently, the deck is designed to protect a threat, then equip Maul of the Skyclaves and go in for the win, but that may not be the case going forward. While we still keep a lot of the original Mono-White pieces, Adeline looks to buff decks that are more interested in going wide. Left unchecked, Adeline will take over the game, and red and green decks may struggle to answer her four toughness outside of combat.
I have already seen some people calling Adeline a worse Brimaz, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. If your deck wants to put opponents on the back foot, this card will do that easily. I do have a few doubts about Adeline, as she is a three-mana card that provides no immediate value, but if you’re looking into making a Mono-White deck, this card should get its fair shake. Don’t overlook its synergy with cards like Usher of the Fallen.
Innistrad sees the Vampire tribe returning to its red-black roots, and Vampire Socialite may be the card that propels the deck into the competitive Standard metagame. It’s a little bit like a janky version of Thalia’s Lieutenant, since it’ll usually put counters on your Vampires after combat, but a slightly worse Thalia’s Lieutenant is still a very strong card.
Another thing to keep in mind: other Vampires you play won’t buff the Socialite like Humans buff Lieutenant; instead, they enter the battlefield with counters. This has strengths and weaknesses, for sure. A large draw to Lieutenant is how it grows the team, then becomes a sizable threat itself, but Vampire Socialite will spread the power across the board. Socialite is therefore a much stronger card against spot removal — most of the time, it won’t be nearly as threatening as your other creatures, so your opponent will have to think long and hard about removing it.
While I’m not sure we’ll have enough Vampires in this set to enable a dedicated Vampire deck, this card could skyrocket in playability when Crimson Vow comes out. Preorder some Socialites now; you may need them in two months.
It’s been tricky to try to put a green-white Standard deck together during this preview season. While the coven mechanic looks strong, we’ve really needed to see all the cards available to get a good gage on how this deck will function. But once I saw Katilda previewed, I started to feel more confident in a green-white, go-wide strategy.
Katilda draws a direct comparison to Cryptolith Rite. She’s much easier to remove, but in exchange, you get a built-in mana sink. If you can get it on the battlefield in your go-wide deck, your board will quickly outscale your opponents’.
With that inherent flood protection, we can start looking at things to cast with all our mana from Katilda. Turntimber Symbiosis and Emeria’s Call are cards we can work into the mana base, and they’ll provide good value with Katilda. Intrepid Adversary is a great way to use all our extra mana and buff the team up for a huge attack on the next turn. Crackle with Power is another card that could just end the game on the spot.
Long story short, there’s a lot of room to explore Katilda in Standard. While it’s somewhat fragile, it has huge payoff potential, and players will be trying various ways to abuse this card for the next few years.
Teferi is back in Standard, and he seems more interested in working with creatures than his usual group of counters and wraths. He actually reminds me a little bit of Garruk Wildspeaker, but we’ll get more into that later.
Let’s start by looking at Teferi’s -2. While Anticipate isn’t a card I’m super excited to play, this sort of effect is quite good on a planeswalker. It isn’t as good as past Teferis’ card advantage, but if this Teferi sticks around for a few turns, you should be able to find the threats and sideboard cards you’re looking for.
Meanwhile, Teferi’s +1 could allow you to leave up protection for him, or cast two or more spells on some turns. He plays incredibly well with mana rocks and mana dorks; playing a Tangled Florahedron or a two-mana mana rock like Mind Stone in Historic will allow you to deploy Teferi and another two-drop on turn three. Dumping your hand like this also works great with Katilda, so keep Teferi in mind if you’re looking to build a deck with her.
In midrange mirrors, ulting Teferi might be the right move. But more often than not, you’ll likely be using Teferi as a way to simply find more bodies to dump on the board. The ultimate isn’t everything, but you’re happy to have it.
Teferi is a very unique walker for blue and white, and he might even unlock whole new deck archetypes in color combinations like Bant.
We’re one week away from the release of Midnight Hunt on MTG Arena, and it’s already looking to be a very exciting Standard! Make sure to come back here next week for five brand-new Standard decks to jump on the ladder with. And if you’re planning on playing Standard at your local game store this month, be sure to preorder Midnight Hunt and stock up on the cards you’ll need.
For more early impressions of Midnight Hunt cards, be sure to follow me over on Twitter at @masoneclark.
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.